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Quadriplegic Dies of Hypothermia After Chair Gets Stuck in Path

November 28, 1989

ROMULUS, Mich. (AP) _ Near-freezing temperatures were blamed Monday for the death of a quadriplegic man whose electric wheelchair became stuck along a gravel nature trail during an outing.

The temperature was about 46 degrees when Alan Rogers Sr., 40, and friend William Felker left the Apple Tree Lane Rehabilitation Care Center on Saturday afternoon and ventured onto the trail out of sight and earshot of the center.

Felker, also a quadriplegic, got his wheelchair stuck first and warned Rogers, who continued about 20 more feet before his wheelchair also got stuck, said administrator Joseph Richert.

Felker dozed during night, while the temperature dipped to 34 degrees, and when he awoke early Sunday, Rogers was dead.

Ellen Bouchard, director of community relations at the center, said the medical examiner determined Monday that Roges died of hypothermia.

″These two gentlemen were their own guardians,″ Bouchard said. ″They came and went from the facility as they chose to do.″

Police in this city 20 miles west of Detroit were notified shortly after midnight that the roommates were missing but did not find them until 6 a.m. Sunday.

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